Jaroslav Halak has had an up and down career. He broke onto the scene in Montreal carrying the eight seed to the conference finals, between powerhouses Washington and Montreal, to get there. Then, Montreal traded him to St. Louis where he always had good win totals and GAA but a poor save percentage. Last year, he ended up on the Islanders where he had a career regular season. He missed the first few games this year but came back late last week and posted a shutout last night against the 0-7 Blue Jackets. Even though they’ve lost every game, Columbus has been scoring goals, so a 37 save shutout is quite impressive. Expect him to be the workhorse for the Islanders now and to post great numbers across the board.
Here’s what else happened on Tuesday (and the one game Monday):
Antti Raanta – 22 save shutout in his first game with the Rangers. At the most, he’s going to play 15 games because Henrik Lundqvist is the ultimate workhorse but as we saw with Cam Talbot the last few years, the Rangers backup is an excellent streamer when he plays.
Mats Zuccarello – Fourth goal of the season on his only shot. He keeps rolling and is locked into the top line so expect the production to be maintained, only with the assists coming and goal pace decreasing.
Jesper Fast – Goal and assist on 3 shots with 3 hits. Bumped up to the second line and produced right away. I wouldn’t add Quickie in 12’ers yet but in 16+ man leagues, I’d make the add or at the least, look to stream him.
Michael Cammallieri – Goal on 8 shots. He’s still the only Devils skater that I would own in 12’ers. If he’s available, he’s an excellent stream against poor possession teams e.g. Arizona last night.
Travis Zajac – Shorthanded goal and two assists, +3 and three shots. Playing big minutes and is very good on draws so I could see him being usable in leagues that count faceoff wins. I wouldn’t own him in standard 12 man and probably not 14 man either.
Anthony Duclair – Power play goal on his only shot. Still good at hockey. If he’s still available, grab him.
Sidney Crosby – Goal and two assists on nine shots. Looked like the best player in the world again, could have easily had 5+ points. Amazing he went scoreless the first 5 games. A hot streak is coming.
Kris Letang – Two assists with two shots. The shots have been excellent so the points are coming. Still feel extremely confident in my preseason ranking of 35th overall.
Evgeni Malkin – Goal and assist on 4 shots. The Pens power play started the season 0-17 and broke through with 2 on Tuesday. I expect the power play to end the year around 30% so a hot streak is coming and the studs are going to benefit.
Marc-Andre Fleury – 31 saves on 33 shots. Looked great for most of the game until the two third period goals. Still expect a Pens run so the wins should be coming.
Quinton Howden – Goal and assist with 3 shots and 4 hits. Florida’s fourth line surprisingly took over the third against the Pens. Not much to see here fantasy wise since he’s only playing 10 minutes but could be relevant if somebody was injured.
Tyler Seguin – Goal and assist on 4 shots. Jamie Benn had a goal and assist on 3 shots and 2 PIM. Yep, best line in hockey right now. Not even that close for me.
Antti Niemi – 34 saves on 35 shots in the 2-1 win. A few people posted in the comments recently worried about Niemi since Kari Lehtonen has played well. I wouldn’t be worried at all. If you can own both, I’d absolutely do it. The Stars are a powerhouse and should be one of the best teams this year.
Steve Mason – 30 saves on 32 shots in his return. Still don’t want anything to do with Philly goalies but good to see him look like he did last season after giving up 6 goals in his other game this year.
Claude Giroux – No points but 8 shots on goal and 5 hits. Played almost 23 minutes. The points are coming.
Carey Price – 38 save shutout against the Blues. Unconscious right now; he’s clearly established himself as the #1 goalie right now. Amazing that the Canadiens keep winning with their roster.
Max Pacioretty – Goal on 7 shots. I’m repeating myself from a few days ago but I do expect Patches to get his first 40 goal season and to push 40.
Colton Parayko – No points but 2 shots, 4 blocked shots and 4 hits. He’s a rookie who’s getting big minutes with Kevin Shattenkirk out so he’s definitely usable in the short term. In deep leagues, he’s a no-brainer add.
Victor Hedman – Two assists on three shots. Good to see after his recent injury that he played 24 minutes as well. The Triplets line hasn’t done much yet and there’s too much talent there for them not to get going so more points should be coming from the Lightning.
James Neal – Two goals and an assist with 8 shots and 2 PIM in 21 minutes. I’m always big on guys like Neal who take a ton of shots because he stumbles into huge games with the high shot volume. The assists aren’t great but if you’re in need of PIM, Neal is a great target since he’s a great goal scorer.
Filip Forsberg – 2 assists and +3. I think he takes another step forward this year past where he was last year. He consistently looks dangerous when he’s on the ice.
Mike Fisher – Goal and assist. Locked into the top 6 and will continue to get big minutes so at the least, he’s worth streaming in 12’ers. If you count faceoff wins, I’d own him.
Shea Weber – Goal and an assist with 4 shots. His minutes are down from last year which was my reasoning why I had him down at 10th overall for defenseman but he’s still damn good.
Nicklas Backstrom – Two goals on three shots. He’s on fire with 5 points in 2 games since he’s returned from injury. Washington look outstanding so even though he’s not playing with Alex Ovechkin (1+1, 7 shots) right now, Backstrom is still a top 20 player.
Evgeny Kuznetsov – Three assists. The breakout is here; I’m expecting a 60+ point season at this point.
T.J. Oshie – Goal on 2 shots. Killing it right now on the first line so I feel safe about my preseason prediction of a career-best fantasy season.
Mark Giordano – Goal on 2 shots. He’s started slow but I expect the Flames to turn it around.
Johnny Gaudreau – Two assists. While the Flames have struggled, Gaudreau looks outstanding. The point pace will probably decrease but there should be an increase in goals soon.
Sam Reinhart (0.6% owned) – He scored his first career goal last game when he got a chance on the first line. Now he gets to play against Toronto tonight. Great spot for Reinhart to get a point again.
Teemu Pulkkinen (4.3% owned) – Saw a minute boost recently and is getting steady power play time. Edmonton’s defense is still shady at best so I expect Detroit to dominate the game from a possession standpoint leading to more chances for Pulkkinen.
Kris Versteeg (0.6% owned) – Carolina has actually been a top 5 possession team so far (small sample size, yes) and Colorado has been the worst possession team in the league. Carolina should be able to take it to Colorado and Versteeg is on the first line and first power play right now. Probably my favorite streamer of the bunch.
That’s all for now folks. Be sure to check out Marv and Pesos’ article that also comes out today. As always, please post any questions and comments below. There’s only a four game slate tomorrow but I’ll have a quick roundup posted on Thursday with streamers for the bigger Thursday slate. Take care everyone!